Having won against a trio of evangelical preachers (Team Preachin’ Divas) and a team of tattoo artists, (Team Anointed Ink), a group of nuns from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are on to the semi-finals this Thursday night in the gameshow American Bible Challenge.
The three sisters, Peter Joseph, Maria, and Evangeline, are part of a community of nuns founded only in 1997 in Michigan. Now the group has more than 120 sisters, many of whom are in their 20s.
The sisters welcomed the opportunity to participate in the gameshow as a unique contribution to the new evangelization. They plan to use any cash winnings from the show for the retirement of the older sisters of the community.
The three sisters will be competing in the semifinals at 9/8c tomorrow, Thursday, April 11, on the Game Show Network. ZENIT asked Sister Peter Joseph about the experience.
ZENIT: How were you chosen from among the sisters to compete? (In other words, are the three of you particularly 'biblically literate' for some reason?)
Sister Peter Joseph: Any of the sisters could have gone on the show and done a great job. When she heard about the opportunity to compete, Mother Assumpta asked all the sisters if they thought they could answer trivia questions quickly and felt confident about their biblical knowledge. She eventually asked the three of us to go, and we immediately started studying!
ZENIT: Some of our brothers and sisters assert that Catholics don't know much about the Bible. What is your experience?
Sister Peter Joseph: Personally, I've met a wide range of Catholics with an equally wide range of biblical knowledge. Catholics actually have many opportunities to hear and contemplate the Scriptures – in just one Sunday Mass, we hear at least four passages from Scripture covering both the Old and the New Testaments. We're even more fortunate as religious to hear the Scriptures read aloud not only at daily Mass, but also in our community prayers, before and after meals, and in many of our classes.
ZENIT: How does an opportunity such as this relate to the tasks or identity of women religious in today's world?
Sister Peter Joseph: The first responsibility of any religious is to grow closer daily to God in prayer. Out of that prayer flows a desire to evangelize -- to introduce everyone to Christ. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI commented frequently, friendship with Christ is the most beautiful and fulfilling relationship for any person. I believe it is important, especially for youth, to see sisters who do have that friendship with Christ and live a happy, rewarding life, not in spite of, but because of their relationship with Him.
ZENIT: Do women religious need a more public role in society? Is something like this part of the 'new evangelization'?
Sister Peter Joseph: All Christians – whether priests, religious, or laypeople – are called to take part in the New Evangelization in whatever way their vocation calls them to do so. Some religious are contemplatives, and they support their more active sisters and brothers with their prayers in secret. On the other hand, our community's apostolate involves teaching, and it includes evangelizing those who may have heard of Christ but don't know Him. The American Bible Challenge is a great opportunity to show the joy and freedom that come from a life wholly given to Christ in religious life.
ZENIT: Now that you've won the first show, what's next?
Sister Peter Joseph: We now have a chance to go on to one of the semi-final rounds of the game – keep watching the American Bible Challenge to find out how we do!
Here is a video of the sisters competing on the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwRK4T5lBg4.
Here is a video of the sisters' intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy-k5pTk-T8.
The official Web site for the show is http://gsntv.com/shows/the-american-bible-challenge/.